In 2014, Pascal Donohoe, then Minister for Foreign Affairs, encouraged graduates to consider a career in the EU civil service as he launched the EU annual graduate recruitment competition. The minister described a civil service career in the EU as an exciting and challenging opportunity and encouraged graduates to apply, stating that Irish candidates are highly sought after.
An EU position is one of many options to consider when it comes to a career in the civil service. There is no typical career path as the diverse range of roles, jobs and departments means that there is the opportunity to pursue a career that is best suited to the person’s own interests and strengths. Jobs can be based in an office, outdoors with groups of visitors or involve lots of meetings with clients. There are also opportunities to move internally within the public service and this can lead to increased responsibilities and earning potential.
To work in the civil service a candidate must have a first or second class honours degree and for EU positions, good communicative competence in an additional European language is also essential. Specific skills needed are dependent on each area but general skills, such as problem solving, teamwork and good written and verbal communication skills, are needed across the board.
The main types of civil service jobs include a Clerical Officer, Executive Officer, Administrative Officer, Third Secretary/ Diplomat, as well as other professional and specialist roles including engineers, nurses, gardaí, psychologists, legal staff and scientists.
A Clerical Officer is often the first step in a career in the civil service. Clerical Officers work in all departments and provide a range of office duties. For graduates seeking this position, an administration course may be a good option. An Executive Officer, follows on from a Clerical Officer position and is a management role that includes project management and staff management.
The next level is an Administrative Officer and this involves policy formation through research and critical analysis and can also involve drafting material for Ministers. This role is a great opportunity for honours graduates to begin working in the civil service. Another excellent position for graduates is the Third Secretary/ Junior Diplomat who initially work in the Department of Foreign affairs and before moving to an Irish Embassy or consulate.
The Public Appointments Service is the centralised recruitment provider for jobs in the civil service. The website www.publicjobs.ie is the main access route for those interested in a job in the public sector and candidates can access a list of positions available, the qualifications required and job details.
Author: Fiona McBennett